New Desk Chairs

posted in: Decor, DIY, Home, Posts, Projects | 0

Happy Friday everyone!  Today I am sharing some chairs that I just recently finished for the desk in our home office.  This little DIY was pretty simple and straightforward and could be a fun weekend project.

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We have been searching for new chairs for weeks and weeks now.  There are a ton that we liked enough, but we haven’t found any that we have been able to pull the trigger on yet.  I think mostly because the ones we really, really like are all pretty pricey (in our opinion anyway).  So, I did what I always do.  I stalked the thrift stores around here for any options that would work in the meantime.

I ended up finding these chairs.

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I really like the overall style of them and they were an awesome deal, but they were pretty beat up.  The seats were kind of falling apart and they definitely weren’t safe to sit on in their current condition.  Aside from the seats though, the chairs were very sturdy, so I knew we could find a way to make them work.

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I had Mike cut two pieces of plywood to fit the seats.

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I wrapped them with three layers of batting and then covered them in fabric.

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Then the chairs got a couple of coats of black paint and we slid the seats in place.

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I really like the way these chairs turned out.  I think they fit in the room perfectly and the price was definitely right!

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What about you guys?  Any plans for a DIY fix this weekend?

Wallpaper in the Laundry Room

posted in: Decor, DIY, Home, Posts, Projects | 4

Several weeks ago I shared a sneak peek of us wallpapering our laundry room.  Well, I finally got around to taking photos of it. ;)  Here is my new laundry room wall:

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Instead of being all traditional and wallpapering the entire wall, I decided to get creative and make it into a huge framed feature, almost like a giant piece of art.  It takes up almost the entire wall and I love love love the wallpaper I picked out. I think it fits perfectly in the room.

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Almost every wall in our house is textured so before we got around to the wallpapering part we had to figure a proper surface for the wallpaper.  We could have skim coated the entire wall to make it smooth, but instead we got some tempered hardboard from Home Depot and mounted them to the wall.  This provided a smooth surface for the wallpaper to stick to.  I don’t think that I would recommend using these exact boards if you want to do something similar because we had to sink quite a few screws into the studs to really anchor these things so that we wouldn’t have any problems with warping after the wallpaper was applied.  There are several different options for what could be used here.  Anyway, it turned out that really anchoring it was a good thing.  It turned out fabulous and I love what it adds to that formerly boring little room.

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So, back to the hardboard.  After mounting them on the wall, we filled in all of the screw holes with spackle and prepped the surface for the wallpaper by applying a coat of primer.  After the primer was dry we got to hanging the wallpaper.

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We also added trim (that I painted black) all the way around the wallpapered area to give it that framed in look.

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I found the awesome striped hooks at Anthropologie.  We just mounted them on a piece of unstained oak that we picked up at the store.  We use them for bags, jackets, or hanging clothes while doing laundry.

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I just love how this wall turned out.  I spend a lot more time than I used to in the laundry room (thanks to my little guy Jack) and I have to say that it is a much, much nicer place to be stuck in now.

This is the first time I’ve used wallpaper and I love it!  (A big thanks to my mom for helping me put it up — she’s the pro!)  Now I want to use wallpaper for a project in my master bedroom. Have you guys been wallpapering anything lately?

DIY Headboard (and How to Mount It)

posted in: DIY, Home, Posts, Projects | 2

Ever since I started working on my cousin’s bedroom update I have had bedrooms on the brain.  So naturally I moved onto our bedroom next.  Our bedroom has been just fine, but it’s always just sort of felt like everything was just thrown in there to me.  Everything in the room was stuff that we owned in our last house; there was nothing in there (at least furniture wise) that was new to this house.  So the biggest update in there is that I decided to make a new headboard.

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For our bedroom, I wanted something that was a little lower and more modern than our last headboard, and something with nice clean lines.  The good news about all of those requirements is that it makes the making of the headboard pretty darn simple and straightforward.  The toughest part by far was figuring out the mounting brackets on the back. Here is what our bedroom looked like before:

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See, not bad or anything.  It has some good stuff in it.  But after a few simple updates I really love it now.

Onto the headboard making process.  We had a piece of plywood cut at Home Depot to be 26″ high.  (Just for reference our last headboard was about 31″ high — so this one is about 5″ lower).  And about 6″ of that height goes behind the mattress, so really the height of the headboard from the top of the mattress is only 20″.  We were able to score a piece of plywood that had an imperfection (there’s a crack on the backside, but we knew it wouldn’t matter for our purposes) for 70% off, so the entire piece of wood was only about $6.  And we’ve already used almost all of the rest of it for other projects.  So, score.

Before doing anything to make it pretty, Mike took the piece of wood to the garage and made some mounting brackets.  He first marked out on the back of the wood where the studs would match up from where it would be placed on the wall so that he knew where to mount the brackets to the actual headboard (that’s why the brackets aren’t evenly placed on the back).  We looked online and they do sell some mounting kits, but we couldn’t find one when we went to Home Depot so we decided to improvise and make our own (this is DIY baby!).  We grabbed 4 of these T Straps and some carriage bolts.  Then Mike just used a vice grip and a hammer to bend them so that they would fit into one another (see photos below).  After that he just bolted them onto the piece of wood and put some scrap pieces of wood on the bottom as spacers so that it would sit level with the wall and not move if we leaned on it.  Allow these photos to tell you the story of how to do this:

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After all of the hardware was mounted on the piece of plywood, I brought it inside.  I purchased a piece of 3″ thick high density foam from Joann.  When I got it home I had to cut it down to size to fit the exact dimensions of the wood.  I left about 6″ of bare wood at the bottom though so that the mattress could slide right under the foam part but so that the headboard wouldn’t just sit on top of the mattress and end right there.  (Side note: After I already made and hung the headboard I was trolling the aisles at Home Depot and found out that they sell big pieces of 3″ foam there that you can cut to your exact size at home.  They are in the same area as the shelves and window blinds at my store.  And bonus — it is only $20 (!!!!) for the entire piece.  My piece was about $48 at Joann with a 40% off coupon.  So yeah, I was totally kicking myself for not figuring out that one sooner!  You live and you learn.)

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I attached the foam with some spray adhesive.  Then I covered it with a layer of batting.  I just got regular batting (not hi loft) for this project because I wanted the straight lines of the rectangular shape to be obvious.  And the foam is cushy so it is already very comfortable.

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After it was covered in a layer of batting, I moved on to covering it with the fabric.  I found this awesome yellow fabric at Home Fabrics.  Notice how I stapled at the bottom of the foam too to keep the fabric and batting in place? I stapled as close to the foam as I could get and the mattress covers the rest.  You can’t see any staples at all.

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After I was done making the headboard we hung it up using the mounting brackets that Mike made.  Worked like a charm.

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I also updated a few other things in the bedroom.  I got a new duvet cover and throw pillow at Homegoods, and some new lamps at Target.  I scored that huge piece of art above the bed at a thrift store for only $10!  And the butterfly print is by an artist friend of mine, Kyler Martz.  His work is amazing and I have several pieces of his throughout my house.  We also moved around a few things to make it more functional.

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I am loving my bedroom now.  What about you guys?  Any bedroom updates going on out there?

Painting Furniture: A Few Tips

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I have done a ton of furniture painting lately.  And I’ve done it all — latex, oil, spray — you name it, I’ve done it.  So, I thought it may be helpful to put together and pass on a few tidbits of information that I’ve learned along the way. Let me first state for the record that no painting job will ever go perfectly.  So don’t get down on yourself if you make some mistakes along the way.  Almost anything is fixable.  And for the rest, no one will ever notice but you. Promise.

So, without further adieu, some tips:

Tip #1: When using latex paint (on furniture and mouldings) it would be wise to use Floetrol.

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I love this stuff for just about any paint job (except walls, not really much need to thin paint that goes on walls). So much in fact that I dedicated an entire post to just this product.  You can read about this stuff in more depth here, but I’ll give a short explanation of what it does. When using latex paint, you just add some of this stuff to it and mix before you paint.  It thins the paint and makes it so much easier to brush or roll, and it makes it so that brush or roller marks are so much less noticeable.  The only thing is that since it thins the paint a bit you may have to do one to two more coats than normal depending on what you are covering.  But so worth the end result!  Don’t have any Floetrol handy?  Use water!  If you do this be careful because it thins the paint a little more (just use a little at a time until you get your desired consistency), but it will give you similar results.

Tip #2: When using oil-based paint, use Penetrol.

This goes right in line with Tip #1.  Penetrol is Floetrol’s equivalent for oil-based paint.  But in my experience the use is just a little different.  You can mix it in with the paint just like with Floetrol and latex paint, but the most handy use in my opinion is that if you make a little mistake while brushing on the paint, just dip your brush in a little bit of the Penetrol and run the brush over your mistake area.  Viola!  Gone!

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Tip #3: When using oil-based paint resist the urge to brush and brush over the same spot trying to “fix” an imperfection.

Oil-based paint can be a little tricky, but when it’s applied correctly it has the perfect glossy finish.  I love oil-based paint on furniture, it gives a piece that lacquered, enameled look (just see the smooth slick surfaces on the nightstands below).  So pretty.  But unless you are fixing a small mistake with a little Penetrol on your brush (see Tip #2), then don’t try to fix it!  Finish the job, let whatever it is you are painting dry completely (sometimes it may even take more than 24 hours), and after it’s dry sand away the imperfection and try again.  In fact, since oil-based paint is self-leveling, the imperfection may even be gone by the time it dries.

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Even though oil-based paint can be tougher to work with than latex in some ways, it is so much more forgiving than latex paint is in others. Latex paint dries SUPER fast, so if you do make mistakes, that’s it.  Oil-based paint dries painfully slow, but that means it is easier to do the little Penetrol trick I mentioned above to fix small mistakes.  The fast vs. slow drying properties of these different types of paint are also attributable to the type of finish you get in the end.  Since it dries so slow, oil-based paint will give you a smooth, glass-like surface because the paint levels itself out over the drying time.  With latex paint you have to work fast.

Tip #4: When painting over furniture with latex paint (and sometimes even oil-based paint), oil-based primer is your friend.

More often than not a furniture piece you are going to paint over will either be wood, or it will have a smooth, varnished finish.  The use of oil-based primer in these instances decreases any bleed through (if you are painting over wood) or any bubbling or chipping off (if the piece has a smooth, slick surface).  To make this even easier, you can now get oil-based primer in a spray can.  Easy peasy.  This is a step you won’t regret in the end.

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This is exactly what I did on the dresser below.  (And then I also used Floetrol in the paint to eliminate most of the brush marks).

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And I did the same on a set of large bookcases recently.

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Tip #5: By all means use spray paint when you can, but use it with caution on furniture pieces.

Spray paint is awesome because it makes a painting job so quick.  It dries so fast that you can get 3-4 thin coats on a piece in no time flat for a flawless finish.  BUT — If whatever you are painting has larger flat surfaces or parts to it, beware.  Depending on the type of finish of the paint you pick, the gloss that is mixed in with the paint may not come out and distribute itself evenly.  When this happens you’ll get some splotches of paint with the clear coat top and some splotches with no clear coat on the paint at all.  This does not look good no matter how you slice it.  And when it happens it is SO disappointing.  Moral of the story: watch out for bigger flat surfaces when spray painting. All that being said, spray paint is great for smaller pieces.  For instance, I spray painted these old lamps with black glossy spray paint and they came out great.

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So there you have it.  I know there are a lot of people out there who know a lot more about painting than me, but these are just a few things I’ve picked up along the way in my painting adventures.  I hope they help!

Do any of you have any other little gems you’d like to share about painting?  Do tell!

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